Saturday, November 17, 2018

Updates November 2018

Stop by the History Center to see the dolls that belonged to Elizabeth Ann Dunseth. Mondays 10-3, Thursday 3-6 and Sundays 1-4. The dolls above are hand made and hand painted paper sculpted dolls on a wire frame base, and are well known in Mexico.  This type of doll or figurine is usually shown with farm animals, baskets or pottery.  (Two of ours are holding pigs...) Called the Viejos or Peasant People, each 12" sculpture is one of a kind.

When we posted the blog about Beulah Church holding sunrise services at Red Hills State Park, D. Sebright responded: The windmill that the Cross was mounted on, came from the farm of Pete and Annie Buzzard, probably donated by their son, who was the President of Eastern Illinois University.  (Sebright lived east on the next farm across the highway on Route 50.)

Also D. Dasch noted that we had misspelled the mayor's name in the post about the retirement of Police Officer Stivers.  The name should be Mayor George McFarland, not McFarlane.  George McFarland was the father of his Uncle (Lowell George McFarland). 

Thank you to all who read the blog, and help us get it right!  

Friday, November 16, 2018

Another Chicken Story

November 7, 1907
Sumner Press


A shooting affray has excited the inhabitants of the little village of St. Francisville because of the prominence of the parties involved. Sunday, M. J. Murphy, a prominent farmer, who lives about two and one half miles from town, returned home after a brief absence, and found a man busily engaged in shooting his chickens.

The man had killed six that he had piled up and was shooting at others. This naturally excited the owner, who started to run for the field where the slaughter was taking place. The man with the gun, who later proved to be Wesley Barnett, son of one of the most prominent residents in St. Francisville, yelled, "Don't you come over the fence or I'll kill you."

Murphy, not daunted, kept running toward him despite the screams of his wife.  Barnett picked up his gun, a short shotgun, and began to shoot at him. He fired three shots, two of which struck Murphy in the breast. Murphy continued to run until he reached the young man, who then took the gun and began using it as a weapon. He struck Murphy over the head and arms and a battle began for possession of the gun.

In their hard-fought battle, the men covered almost a quarter of a mile of territory. Finally, Murphy got possession of the gun.  The young man then exclaimed,"Uncle, you won't kill me will you?" Murphy, who up to this time had not recognize his assailant, answered, "No, if you will just leave," which the young man did with the utmost speed.

Mr. Murphy telephoned for Marshall Brubeck, but no trace of the young man could be found. The only theory his friends can advance, for his peculiar and uncalled for actions, is that he must have been drinking, as he is known to be addicted to the drink. Mr. Murphy's wounds were dressed and he is getting along nicely. The nerve he displayed in running toward a man who was shooting at him repeatedly, was quite remarkable and shows the stuff in which he is made.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Lawrence County Speedway 1949

Vincennes Sun Commercial June 6, 1949
Vincennes Sun Commercial September 23, 1949

4-H Camp

When Memorial 4-H Camp near Monticello was in session July 11-14,  the following members of Lawrence County Clubs were in attendance.

The first row (left to right) are: Donald Stevenson, Art Sechrest, Nell Zehner, Carla Cessna, Norma Hardacre, Joyce Coffey, Shirley Conover, and Harold Stevenson.

Second row (left to right): Barbara Stevenson, Ellen Fitch, Karen Fitch, Bobby Read, Leone Green, Harlene Craig, Frances Able, Jean Able, Emma Cognat, Ann Mitchell and Jo Whittaker.

Third row ( left to right): Harlie Legg, Assistant Youth Advisor Joe Faggetti, Farm Advisor Lyle Kerley, Clarence Brown, Ronald Crawford, Barbara Burgoon, Lawrence Cognat, Home Advisor Margaret Bunyan, Maxine Cummins, Tonya Roberts and Helen Barrett.  Pat Swarens is missing from the picture. 
(Ed Note:  It is believed this article in the paper with accompanying photograph was taken in 1954.)

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

John W. McCleave's Diary 1885

The Western Sun, on September 25, 1885, published an article about Tom A. Hall of Lawrenceville, who was charged with robbing the county treasurer, John W. McCleave.  Hall had been employed as a clerk by McCleave, and surreptitiously, obtained knowledge of the combination of the safe in the Courthouse. He then, frequently slipped a key from the county clerk’s office that enabled him to enter, while Treasurer McCleave was at dinner; Hall would then steal five or ten dollars at a time.  He continued this for a long time, working in a very shrewd manner, but was finally caught by some very clever detective work by Sheriff Ed Ryan and Mr. McCleave, himself.

One of the grand jury members leaked the information before Hall’s arrest and Hall got wind of the matter and vamoosed, according to one newspaper reporter. Deputy Sheriff A. L. Irwin then learned that Hall was in Columbus, Ohio, and telegraphed the chief of police there to arrest and hold him.  It was believed that Hall had stolen as much as three hundred dollars. He was said to have had some expensive living habits, and as he was very popular, this was named as the cause of his crookedness.

Tom Hall was well known in Vincennes. He occasionally visited there in the company of Lawrenceville belles, and generally managed to cut a six-foot swath on every appearance.  On one of his visits, he even impersonated the treasurer of Lawrence County and collected from a Vincennes lady, an amount just over nine dollars, due on some land owned by her in Lawrence County.  The 
Vincennes newspaper reported on September 25th, that Hall was in the Lawrenceville jail.

None of this was mentioned in John W. McCleave’s diary for 1885 in the possession of the Lawrence County Historical Society.  Following is a transcription of the diary.

In 1885, John W. McCleave was the County Treasurer and lived on a farm located near where the Lawrence County Country Club is now.  He was 48 years old and had been married to his wife, Elizabeth for seventeen years. His entries are brief, with notations of the days he worked in the office, things he did on the farm, and funerals he attended. The names mentioned were often people to whom he loaned money or ones who repaid on their notes.  Because of his limited education, his grammar, spelling and handwriting are difficult to decipher.

People mentioned were Chas. Teschemacher and Wm. Spencer.  (Several other names were included but not transcribed.)

General Summary: McCleave sold 376 lbs. of wool; pitched wheat, cut oats, worked on wire fences, went to Birds for a Soldiers’ Reunion, threshed 509 Bu. of wheat and 11 Bu. of oats, went to the Old Settlers Reunion at Allison; planted walnut trees, tied straw around apple trees; made an onion bed; killed a hog and salted the hams.  He also included in his diary, a recipe to restore gray hair and stop nose bleeds, as well as a recipe to treat inflammatory rheumatism. 

Some interesting notations on these dates (annotations and research in italics)

September 11, 1885: A.M. Swineheart’s wife’s funeral (Nannie or Nancy J, died September 10, 1885, age 30 years, 1 months, 26 days, of an abdominal excess.  Children:  Rossie R., son, died June 24, 1884, aged 9 months, 6 days, Lyddie H., daughter, died July 7, 1885 age 6 days.)

September 20, 1885: funeral of M. Fyffe’s baby (boy, 9 months 20 days. Death caused by Dropsy of the brain.)

December 10, 1885:  Golden wedding anniversary (of his parents, George and Mary Ann (Robinson) McCleave. They were married December 10, 1835, in Lawrence County.)

History of Billett United Methodist Church

History of Billett United Methodist Church
May Knepper Seed-- center back row --Billett Methodist Church

1913 Sunday School Class Teacher Emma Doak
Front row: Essie Rowe, Linda Crouch, Mary Schick, Emma Doak, Maggie Shick, Laura Deloriea, Ruth Clark
Second Row: Mary Harvey, Agnes Gottfried, Venna Clark, Hazel Doak McDonald, Jennie Potts, Mary Weeden,
 Fern Clark Leighty, Clara Hill, Audra Wayne, Elsie Tredway, Verna Banks. 

Billett United Methodist Church is three miles south of Lawrenceville and two miles east on the Billett Road.  There, for some years before 1890, the Christian people of Billett felt the need of a religious organization.  Services were first held in a warehouse belonging to the railroad company. 

Then on May 14, 1889, George W. Mills and his wife, Lucy Mills, deeded a plot of land to the trustees of the Billett Methodist Church, and on this plot, the present building was erected on Sunday, May 25, 1890.

Preceded by a stormy night, Billett Methodist Church was dedicated. The day, dawned bright and clear, and at the appointed hour the congregation gathered to engage in the dedication services. Mr. Noel furnished an organ at which Miss Annie Aiken presided. The trustees’ statement showed the cost of the church to be $800 with only $157 remaining to be paid as well as to cover another coat of paint outside. Within 20 minutes, $172 was subscribed. 

The church building was 26’ x 45', including the vestibule. The interior was completely papered, painted and grained; the rostrum was carpeted; and the pews were the best on the circuit.

The Board of Trustees were Thomas Anglin, Gardner Barnhart, George Leighty, Clay Emery, James Lawrence, and Albert Ryan. About five years later, an addition of 16 feet was added to the west side of the building. In 1957, four new Sunday School rooms were added. The sanctuary was paneled in 1968, the same year the Methodist and United Brethren Churches were united. 

The front of the church  building has been remodeled, adding new doors and new carpeting in the sanctuary.  A fellowship hall for social events has also been constructed. 

2018 photo by J Hamilton

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Alex H. McCarter--100 years old 1934

 Oct 7, 1934 
100 Years old Sunday 
Completed his First Century
Oldest Lawrence County Man Begins a Second Hundred Years
 following Celebration on Sunday

Alex H. McCarter 1834-1934
Alex H. McCarter, living three miles south of Russellville, was one hundred years old Sunday, and the day was made a happy one for him by the presence of three hundred and fifty friends and relatives.  

Early in the morning people began to arrive with good things to eat and tokens of esteem.  From far and wide they came, and as they kept coming with basket after basket of food, the men folk kept extending the big dinner tables set up in the yard of his daughter, Mrs. Sim Philpots.  By noon, three hundred and two had arrived--folk that represented ninety-eight different families.  Thirty-eight cakes graced the table. The afternoon visitors increased the crowd to 350.  

It was by far the happiest time Alex McCarter has spent in many a day--it was the day for which he has been hoping for several years.  Nature was kind to him in supplying one of the finest fall days of them all and keeping him in almost perfect health.  

As the people passed his chair to shake his hand and give him presents, his pleasant smile would welcome them and his witty remarks would cause ripples of merriment to pass through the crowd. 

Mr McCarter is a Democrat and when asked about the New Deal, he refused to commit himself. "I'm a Democrat," he said, "but I don't blow my head off about it.  I don't like all the things Roosevelt is doing; I think he is spending too much money, but I am going to vote for his re-election in two more years. Why, he's counting on it!"  

When asked how he would vote this fall in the county election, his eyes twinkled and he said, "I am voting for Fred James; he's the only candidate who has been to see me, and I am going to vote for the lady for county clerk.  I bet if I vote for her and then go in to buy a marriage license, she'll not charge me for it.  That Fred James is the finest man in Lawrenceville."  Then he added, "You can depend on it, that there'll be no scratching on the McCarter ballot."  His first presidential vote was for James Buchanan in 1856--78 years ago. 

Ed Note:  Alex also shares his experiences at Betsey Reed's hanging in the newest book from the Historical Society: A Documentary Record of the First Woman Hanged in Illinois. Purchase it now from the History Center, Research Library, or The Finishing Touch. It will soon be on the website, also. $25 plus $5 if mailing.